Disney to produce live sports and entertainment shows for Twitter

1 May 2018

Disney logo. Image: Jonathan Weiss/Shutterstock

Disney aims to attract online viewers with Twitter-specific content.

Disney is one of a number of media companies that will be making original content specifically for Twitter, as part of a number of new partnerships.

The deals with the various organisations were announced at Twitter’s 2018 NewFronts event on 30 April. The partnerships include entertainment, news, lifestyle and sports offerings, among others.

Future Human

NBCUniversal and Viacom are among the other companies slated to create original content for the social network.

New content from Disney family

ESPN, the Disney-owned sports entertainment network, will be planning a Twitter version of its SportsCenter news and analysis show, and a live stream of its Fantasy Focus Live podcast will also be available on the platform. The channel has been working closely with Twitter since 2007.

Travis Howe, ESPN’s senior vice-president of platform ad sales strategy and global operations, told Variety: “We’ve gained a material amount of insights over the last 10 years.” He described Twitter as “the best platform to talk about anything live, and especially breaking news”.

Twitter’s shares leapt 4.5pc after the Disney deal was announced, benefiting in part from the high performance of the record-setting box office debut of Avengers: Infinity War the previous weekend.

Twitter listening to users

Twitter’s head of content, Kay Madati, explained that the new deals are a result of consultations with users around what they want to see on the platform. “People on our service tell us directly what they want to see through conversations on Twitter.”

Madati added: “In the past year, we’ve really expanded our efforts with the best publishers and content creators in the world to bring a slate of programming that reflects those diverse content interests.”

CNBC reported that daily video views on Twitter have doubled over the past year and the company wants to add more premium content offerings to attract broader audiences and, of course, the attention of potential advertisers.

Twitter is also launching a project called ‘Creator Originals, Powered by Niche’. This division will be dedicated exclusively to helping online influencers to create scripted series for Twitter. Niche is Twitter’s network specifically geared towards online creators. Online Brand Studio – a programme for creating live content for marketing – will be rolled out soon.

This effort from Twitter to create more video entertainment may go some way towards chipping away at YouTube’s dominant position, but it remains to be seen how well the new shows will be received.

Twitter has been partnering with media outlets for some time now. Of 16 content partnerships announced in 2017, the company said it has been able to secure sponsorship or advertising for all of them.

Disney logo. Image: Jonathan Weiss/Shutterstock

Ellen Tannam was a journalist with Silicon Republic, covering all manner of business and tech subjects